6 February, 2023
Skiing and snowboarding are more than a pastime for a lot of people, it becomes a part of their lives that borders (sorry) on obsession. This list celebrates the creativity of athletes and filmmakers who blazed the way with unadulterated fun and balls-to-the-wall riding to some heavy hitting tunes.
Maybe it's waiting for your go-to brand to bring out the latest ski equipment, or tuning in to the latest snow podcasts (shoutout Bombhole) whilst you’re sweating away the summer and yearning for some turning.
For the majority of us, snow movies and their soundtracks play a huge part in fanning the flames and firing up the stoke for sliding around on snow. We all have our favourite rider or film segment that’s often earmarked by a banger tune that sends tingles up the neck and triggers a change from summer into winter mode.
A ski film is a personal choice and something that each rider will happily debate for hours over a few brewskis. This is a polarising statement, but in my eyes ski movies from the 2000s are untouchable. They were at the forefront of a ski and snowboard industry that had just entered the mainstream but still clung onto its rebellious, archaic culture of the 90's that made us all want to get loose in the mountains.
Movies were becoming slightly more professional in their production, and tricks were progressing at the speed of light, but they hadn’t quite reached the overly polished flicks we see now.
Modern movies are amazing too, but these talented athletes and film-makers are standing on the shoulders of some massive giants.
Fo the skiers out there.
MSP doing what they do best
Ok, so this one might have a storyline (albeit hilarious), but it makes the list thanks to the pioneering segments from Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Simon Dumont, Shane McConkey & a baby faced Sean Pettit.
High fives, fist bumps and a fun vibe that to this day will get you in the mood. Summed up by one of the best uses of the ‘Juke box hero’ by Foreigner you’ll ever see in one of skiings most epic segments from the late, great, “Im not, Done, Yet” , Shane Mckonkey.
Combining next level skiing that blazed the way for modern-day athletes with the typical Matchstick fun vibe, this is an all-time classic.
Even as a snowboarder, watching the enigma that is Hugo Harrison ripping to Social Distortions' Reach for the sky' always gives me goosebumps.
From Morocco and Greenland to Alaska, All.I.Can is a groundbreaking movie that sets the cinematic tone without going over the top. Winner of pretty much every award going, watching All.I.Can is like listening to Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, all immersive and in your face. The standout Is the creative genius of the late JP Auclair, regarded by many as the purest skier of a generation.
His insane line through the streets of Trail in British Columbia is one of the most watched segments of all time. Set against the sounds of LCD Soundsystem, it’s a part which has all of the feels. JP sadly passed away in an avalanche, but his legacy lives on through tributes such at Tom Wallishch’s edit called Imagination.
The Level 1 team had a habit of taking unknown skiers and sending them into the stratosphere, many of those are now household names such as Colby West, JF Houle and Loic Collomnb Patton.
Long Story Short brings tech freestyle from the street to the backcountry with a soundtrack any skateboard movie would be happy to have (skate films are the yard stick after all)
MSP again with a movie shot in one of North America's deepest ever winters.
This is almost a coming of age flick for free skiing and Sean Petit in particular, with an endless amount of hucking his meat along with his trade mark fun time vibes.
Essentially it's a movie about skiing powder with your buddies. Keep an eye out for Ingrid Backstrom shredding some of the steepest lines you can imagine.
Tanner Hall at his best. 2006 saw him coming back from that infamous double ankle break on Chad's gap to putting down an all-time movie part plus taking on Simon Dumont as the two best halfpipe riders on the planet. Regarded as one of the best ski movies ever made with everything from street to backcountry booters and a killer soundtrack. A must watch for all aspiring jibbers.
And now for the snowboarders
If there is a definition of ‘banger’ part it's Chris Rasman and Matt Belzile throwing down to a remix of ‘ heard it through the grapevine’. Alterna Films combine technical film making with big characters and fun snowboarding.
For me, this is the best snowboard movie ever made thanks to its flowy style, the soundtrack and the creative riding. It kicks off with the absinth crew riding deep pow to the tune of heavy hitting 'Baba o’reilly' by The Who, and then straight into some massive backcountry lines. Master of style, Gigi Rug steals the show by jibbing a sleepy town buried in fresh snow. This is just snowboarding at its coolest.
The Resistance was snowboarding at its very best. Unhinged, full of creativity and progression whilst not being taken too seriously. This film featured still to this day the best group of snowboarders known as the legendary ‘Forum 8 team’ consisting of JP Walker, Jeremy Jones, Joni Malmi, Wille Yli-Luoma, Bjorn Leines, Devun Walsh, Chris Dufficy and Peter Line.
The standout segment is the master of coolness Devun Walsh, filming a whole part in 6 days before blowing his knee.
Even now it’s hard to surpass the feel-good factor of the Robot Food team at its best in Afterlame. Baggy pants and upbeat pop, Afterlame is a film that will never be replicated. Channelling those skate vibes, it's just outrageously good times and makes you want to reach for your board.
Explore the evolution of big mountain snowboarding and its carefree past. Shot in a documentary style with interviews that thread the line of being deep and meaningful, its quickly offset by incredibly loose footage of legendary snowboarders Mike Ranquet, Tom Burt, Axel Pauporte amongst others as they discover the secrets of Alaska in the late 80’s and 90’s. The journey continues through to the likes of Travis Rice and Romain De Marchi taking their freestyle chops into the big mountains.
This is a story of development and pushing boundaries at a time when snowboarding was wild and unregulated, there were no limits and no rules. Freeriding was exactly that……free
Think ‘The Hangover’ and ‘American Pie’ push out a snowboard film and you have Out Cold. This box office flop has become an absolute cult classic amongst the ski town dwellers, partly thanks to how well they capture the weirdness of what goes on in mountain towns but mostly as we can all relate to the characters.
Expect cheesy silliness at its best.
I'm a photographer, creative copywriter and brand ambassador with over 14 years experience in action sports and adventure, in particular in snow sports where I cut my teeth as a competitive athlete. These valuable years taught me lessons in communication, self promotion, hard work and dedication, all of which I now apply to my creative work. It's through these experiences I have leant that even the best plans can change, so being flexible and able to think on the fly in stressful situations are skills I pride myself on.
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